MEET AMY E. SKLANSKY
I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. I can still hear my dad’s voice reading Madeleine to me. I spent
countless nights under my covers with book and flashlight, long after lights out. (Don’t tell my mom.) Some of
my clandestine companions back then were Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, The Secret Garden by Frances
Hodgson Burnette, books by Thornton W. Burgess, Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, Julie of the Wolves by
Jean Craighead George, and the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I so adored the Little House books
that I wore a calico dress like Laura for two straight Halloweens.
My love of reading fostered a love of writing. Memories of childhood include sitting crisscross on a giant rock
in my Lookout Mountain backyard to write poems, and then the thrill of seeing one of those poems published
in a local magazine.
In high school and college, I tried various kinds of writing: for the yearbook, newspaper, and literary
magazine. I interned at an academic journal, a small book publisher, and a magazine in New York City.
But in the end, I was drawn to the world of children’s books. I’m fascinated by the way pictures and words
can be woven together to make a story come alive. And it thrills me to see a child read a book over, and over,
and over, and over again—or pester her parents until they do! But I didn’t become an author right away.
I began my career in children’s literature as an editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books in New York, where I worked
for five years. One of my greatest joys as an editor was working with Jean Craighead George, a childhood hero of mine.
I even got to hear her howl like a wolf once – right in the office! Then I spent the next five years working as an editor
at Studio Goodwin Sturges in Boston, where I immersed myself in the illustration side of bookmaking.
But the more I worked with authors, the more I wanted to try my own hand at writing. So, in 1999, I made the leap and
became an author myself. My first book, From the Doghouse: Poems to Chew On, was published in 2002. I’ve published
10 others since. They include picture books, poetry collections, board books, and a nonfiction picture book.
My favorite part of writing is revising. Really. When I’m revising, that means I’m working on something I like and think
is worth improving. Kids are surprised when they learn that I revise every poem or story 10-15 times.
I love the quiet part of being an author: writing, research, setting my own schedule. But other times, it’s nice to interact with other readers, including children at schools and libraries. I enjoy talking to students and teachers about what I do. And it’s thrilling for me to see my books being read and enjoyed out in the real world. In fact, it may be the very best part of being an author.
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